September 7th and 8th, 2020 Arizona and Joshua Tree

I've decided to combine the entry for these two days as neither one was particularly noteworthy. Our last full day in Arizona was frustrating as we had several things on the agenda and places were closed and/or the heat was too intense (especially for me). We had a tip on some black-bellied whistling duck chicks but went to the area (a golf course resort). No one was in the clubhouse to tell us where they might be and we couldn't see any ponds from the road. We certainly didn't want to hike out on the golf course in 100 degree heat with no shade!

We also returned to the Paton Center, hoping to get better photos of the Plain-capped starthroat hummingbird but couldn't locate it. The whole area was teeming with birds but photography was next to impossible.

We also checked out the Tubac DeAnza trail for a reported green kingfisher but again, no luck. It's one of those places where a bird can fly up and down the river but we just have a couple of entry points and many places you can't even bushwhack your way to the river's edge.

Since we needed to start making our way north, we then decided to try Sabino Canyon in Tucson. We were still hoping to find some reptiles. We had heard it was closed but there were mixed reports on when it would re-open. Their website said it was open and there was no phone contact number. We got there and it was being patrolled by security to make sure no one entered!

We lost quite a bit of time on all these mis-adventures so finally settled on the closest "nature" area we could find in the Tucson area--Sweetwater Wetlands. Right next to the freeway, it was not the most scenic place but it turned out to have some interesting animals. We actually saw our first desert kingsnake there--but no photos. However, we did find two geckos right after dark.

The next day on our way home we stopped in Joshua Tree. A pall of smoke from the Yucaipa fire blanketed everything. Though the smell of smoke wasn't bad, it was hazy and the sun was shrouded in the haze. We did find a few birds at the Cottonwood Spring Oasis trailhead. We walked about a third of a mile and then headed over to the Desert Queen Mine trail. This trail is really cool and I'm sure there is a lot of wildlife roaming about at night based on the amount of scat I saw; however about all we encountered were a swarm of honeybees following us for the whole trail. It was super annoying. They weren't trying to sting us but probably after our sweat.

Finally that evening, we tried one more time to find some reptiles and only managed to find a tarantula and what I think is a mouse but it was very cute!

All in all it was a rather anti-climatic ending to an otherwise great trip.

Posted by naturephotosuze naturephotosuze, September 15, 2020 23:27

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Mediterranean House Gecko Hemidactylus turcicus

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

September 7, 2020 07:42 PM PDT

Description

Sweetwater Wetlands

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Western Banded Gecko Coleonyx variegatus

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

September 7, 2020 07:47 PM PDT

Description

Sweetwater Wetlands
Not sure AI is correct but I'll go with it for now

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Ship Rat Rattus rattus

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

September 8, 2020 08:15 PM PDT

Description

Joshua Tree
We saw this guy running under the porta-potty structure

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